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Prayer answered: ASU escapes No. 16 USC with 38-34 victory

Another week in Pac-12 play brought another Hail Mary victory. The Arizona State Sun Devils had their prayers answered Saturday.

Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici rose to the occasion during his second career start to steal a last-second victory from USC. The scoreboard read 38-34 after junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong stunned the Trojans.

Bercovici was the catalyst, though. Arizona State trailed 34-25 with 3:02 remaining when the Sun Devils’ inexperienced quarterback decided to take over the game.

Once the Sun Devils had possession of the ball after a kickoff, it took Bercovici one play to close the gap. The junior from Calabasas, Calif. connected with wide receiver Cameron Smith for a 73-yard touchdown.

Arizona State got the ball back for the last time with 23 seconds left. After two attempted passes, Bercovici dropped back and lobbed a moonshot toward the end zone. With five different USC defenders located around the goal line, Strong undercut them all and ensnared the 46-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

Bercovici finished the contest with an eye-popping 510 passing yards and five touchdowns. Strong contributed a whopping 202 receiving yards. These efforts came against the nation’s 10th-ranked passing defense. Arizona State actually doubled the average USC passing yards surrendered per game entering Saturday’s contest.

Arizona State’s starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is recovering from an unspecified foot injury, was expected to return to the lineup next Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal. Arizona State head coach Todd Graham may decide Kelly needs more time to heal after Bercovici’s stunning performance.

Arizona State’s duo weren’t the only players to put up big numbers. USC running back Javorius “Buck” Allen finished the contest with 229 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. USC is relying more and more on the running back as the weeks progress. Allen carried the ball 29 times, which is a season high.

As for the rest of USC, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Sign of the times in the Pac-12: Reactions like this.

— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) October 5, 2014